Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Looking for Local Election Returns

Local Election Returns?

No doubt most voters were transfixed on the outcome of the Presidential election and its ramifications. For the most part, so were your local media in Central Texas. What if you wanted to know the status of a LOCAL contest?

Well, you could stare at the screen of your favorite TV station, if you have one, and wait for them to scroll possibly stale data. If you missed it, you must keep on staring—Not very satisfying. Yes, the focus of the day was the historic election of Barack Obama. But, the down-ballot races are important too. Where are the returns for your state representative or county commissioner race?

Ah, go to the Internet. But all sites are not equal.

Far and away, showing why they won awards this year, was the best, the best of all media in Central Texas. KEYE TV.COM had one click to get to results leading you to a list of races. Simply click on the race and (BOOM! As John Madden would say) there were the latest results.

I sampled all during election night. I had three TVs going and my laptop. The Austin American-Statesman showed some results, not all. News 8 was about the same, relying on the Associated Press. Highly promoted had streaming video. I love Laura Skirde. It was interesting, but not immediately informative. I tried several times to access raw voting information, but I could not get in. Perhaps KXAN is so popular that their site was overwhelmed. I got little from them.

Meantime, KVUE TV’s site keeps asking if you’re a “member”. YES!!! But, I didn’t want to bother with their re-registration process. (I understand why they do it—Demographics and data—but I back away. KVUE TV needs to get over it and lose that part of their web site. There are better ways of gathering data about your users.) Perhaps the worst station for local results was KTBC TV.

Is the media better than the government? Yes. I tried Travis County’s site for local races and had less success. So, I suppose that the media gets a passing grade for trying. That’s interesting to me because the media gets its information from where? The government.

Bottom line: wins in this election cycle. I almost stopped writing there. No, I should give credit to the person who wraps her arms daily around, Sousa Williams. Well done.

Jim McNabb
(C) 2008

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